I’m going to guess that pretty much anyone who’s interested in nail polish knows of Seche Vite, a favourite top coat of many, many bloggers, including yours truly. I’ve decided not to split this guide/review into pros and cons, simply because the point is to show y’all how to deal with Seche Vite with the least possible headaches.
What is Seche Vite?
Seche Vite is a quick-drying top coat, renowned for its drying speed and glassy shine.
Seche Vite differs from many other top coats in its application: it has to be applied over wet polish in a fairly thick layer without touching the brush to the polish below. This can be tricky and means that it shouldn’t be used to refresh a scuffed manicure; though I haven’t experienced the phenomenon myself, I have read reports that applying Seche Vite over dry polish can lead to lifting. If I want to add another coat of Seche Vite after a day or so I just put on a coat of some cheapie top coat or clear polish first. Problem solved, worked perfectly fine for me.
Also, many users have trouble with shrinkage: as the combination of nail polish and Seche Vite dries, it shrinks slightly and the tips of the nails become visible. That is very easily solved: just wrap your polish and top coat, i.e. apply it across and slightly under the tip of your nail. This technique also works great to prevent chipping with any top coat.
One major advantage to Seche Vite is that it really does dry quickly, be aware though that drying time differs depending on temperature, humidity, base coats, which and how much nail polish was used, body chemistry and freshness of the top coat.
For me (and I tend to have issues with drying time in general) over base coat and a couple coats of polish, Seche Vite is dry to the touch in less than five minutes, after around 20 to 25 minutes it won’t crinkle when I apply pressure from cuticle towards tip. Becoming undentable can take up to an hour.
Taking care of your Seche Vite
One complaint I’ve often heard is the ‘zomg, my SV thickened and I had to throw half a bottle out.’ Almost as frequent are the voices exclaiming ‘why should I pay extra for Restore, it’s just expensive thinner.’
I have to beg to differ. Restore is specifically geared to replenish Seche Vite, which like all polishes and treatments loses its more volatile components due to evaporation. Unlike many polishes, treatments, top coats and thinners, both Seche products still contain toluene.
If you love Seche Vite my recommendation is this:
Buy the Pro kit - which comes with a standard .5 fl.oz. bottle, a 4 fl.oz. refill bottle, and a funnel cap nozzle thingy I’ve never used - and some Seche Restore (I recommend the 2 fl.oz. bottle, the .5 will run out rather quickly).
You’ll notice that when you’ve used between 1/3 and 1/2 of your small bottle of Seche Vite it will get harder to load the brush properly. At that point add a few drops of Seche Restore and shake vigorously, repeat until the viscosity in the small bottle of Seche Vite matches the refill bottle. Just tilt both bottles next to each other and you’ll see how much more quickly the SV refill moves. When you’re happy with the viscosity in your .5 fl. oz. bottle, top it off from the large refill bottle.
Remember: restore first, then refill. Otherwise you might accidentally overfill and you won’t have space left to add Restore.
At some point you will see a drop in efficacy, generally due to contamination (i.e. you touched the underlying polish with the top coat brush too often), at that point I just get a fresh .5 fl.oz. bottle. If it takes a significantly longer time for your Seche Vite to dry than it did when you first got it or it gets scratched and scuffed very quickly, that’s when to get a new bottle. So a single bottle won’t last forever, but depending on how good you are at not getting polish in your Vite you can refill very often and save a lot of money in the long run. Just try a small bottle first to check if you even like how SV works.
How to apply Seche Vite
First let me repeat: the polish shouldn’t be dry yet, just apply your final coat of nail polish on all nails in your usual sequence and then go back and apply your Seche Vite starting with your ‘first nail’. If you want to, you easily have time to clean up first. You certainly don’t need to go finger-by-finger or do one hand at a time. I find that going over the polish too soon, i.e. the second you’ve applied your polish to the nail will make contamination much more probably.
As I mentioned before you really want to avoid contaminating SV. The recommended technique feels a bit strange if you’ve always been told to apply the thinnest coats possible. With Seche Vite you load up the brush with a good bead of SV, just the amount that won’t immediately drip back into the bottle. Place the drop near your cuticles and drag it forward without touching the brush directly to the wet polish. Before you re-dip take a quick look at the brush, if you see polish on it, just wipe it off on a tissue or kitchen paper (anything lint-free).
Please excuse the lame photo, I don’t like using the timer, but my sister sucks at photography and is even more useless at anything beauty-related. (Sorry, sis.)
Did I miss anything? if you do have questions, please do ask in the comment section.
And just for the record: I’m not being paid for writing this or anything. I just couldn’t take the bitching I see all over the place any more. Well, that and Seche Vite just is my favourite top coat.